Canadiens Invite 27 to Training Camp
With the NHL and NHLPA officially ratifying the new Collective Bargaining Agreement late Saturday night, all eyes have now shifted towards the opening day of training camp. Coaches will get to step on the ice with their players and evaluate their squad for the first time this season, and for the Montreal Canadiens, the players will get to formally meet their new Head Coach Michel Therrien.
The Canadiens have invited 27 players to camp, made up of 16 forwards, 9 defensemen, and 2 goalies. While the training camp roster is without any major surprises, it should be interesting to see what the fringe players make of their chance to impress Therrien, as four Hamilton Bulldogs (Brendan Gallagher, Gabriel Dumont, Jarred Tinordi, and Mike Commodore) will be attending the camp.
Brendan Gallagher, who has been a pleasant surprise for the Canadiens after being
drafted in the 5th round in 2010, could very well be the first call up in the event that a scorer goes down to injury. After putting up 41 goals in his final season with the WHL's Vancouver Giants, Gallagher has been impressive so far with the last-place Bulldogs, recording 20 points in his first 36 pro games. Habs fans got a chance to see Gallagher at work in the 2012 World Junior Championship where he was praised for his tenacity, despite his small stature. Comparisons could be made to Montreal Captain Brian Gionta, and while Gallagher still has a ways to go before he becomes a regular in the big league, he will have a great opportunity to improve during camp.
Fighting for the 13th forward spot is Gabriel Dumont, another former Habs' 5th round selection. Dumont has quickly become a leader for the struggling Bulldogs, as he is already just two points below his total last season, with 22 points in the first 36 games. While he isn't very big, Dumont is known for providing energy with his scrappy style of play, never shying away from the physical aspects of the game. He may be on the outside looking in during training camp, but if he impresses, Dumont could start the season on the Canadiens roster. With Petteri Nokelainen expected to miss the start of training camp due to injury, it may be just the opportunity Dumont needs.
The big-bodied stay-at-home defenseman Jarred Tinordi is adjusting well to the pro game in his rookie AHL season. Having already been named an alternate captain for the 'Dogs, Tinordi finds himself playing tough minutes defensively, already becoming one of the team's most reliable blue-liners. While he is a strong skater for his size, it's on the opposite end of the puck that Tinordi excels, with a huge frame, a willingness to protect his net, and a bit of a mean streak, the hope in Montreal is that he will one day become a top-tier shutdown defender. While it's more likely he is sent back down to the minors for at least the remainder of the season, a spot in training camp should give us an idea of how close Tinordi is.
The last of the Bulldogs attending camp is Mike Commodore. Believed to be at camp due to a contractual promise after signing with the Bulldogs, Commodore will have a fair chance to crack the Habs lineup. Commodore, who has played with 7 different NHL clubs, will be trying to get his NHL career back on track during training camp. If he can manage to make the squad, he will bring Stanley Cup experience to the roster, as he won hockey's greatest prize with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. Similar to Dumont, he may be on the outside looking in, but having played in parts of 13 seasons in the NHL, Commodore may just have a shot.
Also trying to make the team will be Habs' 3rd overall draft pick Alex Galchenyuk, who has recently enjoyed a gold medal run with Team USA at the 2013 World Junior Championships. The opinion of many is that Galchenyuk will at least play in a five-game tryout with the CH, but whether or not he could stick around for an entire season is unknown at this point. If he does return to Sarnia of the OHL, he will have a chance to continue his dominance, as he was second in league scoring before heading to Ufa, Russia for the World Juniors. Time will tell what the future holds for the Canadiens' highest draft pick since Carey Price, but with a team that traditionally hasn't given 18-year olds much NHL time, the odds may be against him.
Some notable absentees from training camp include Frederic St. Denis, Nathan Beaulieu, and Louis Leblanc. While Leblanc played most of the season with the Canadiens last year, he is still nursing an ankle injury, and has struggled with the Bulldogs this season.
PK Subban will also be absent from training camp, at least for now, as he has yet to sign a contract extension with the club.
The full training camp roster can be found here
- David Colllins
Follow us on Twitter @TCLHabs